» LATEST FEATURES

LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
LOSTATSEA.NET > FEATURES >

November 13, 2008
RATING: 8/10
You don't have to be a hip-hop fanatic to recognize the power and influence of the Wu-Tang Clan. From their debut, Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), through the group's individual members' myriad of successful solo albums, their impact upon hip-hop music and pop culture in general has been undeniably powerful. Even today, after a series of less successful group efforts, the Clan's stature remains strong. The group's continued eminence is due in part to the still exciting work of members like Ghostface Killah, but is also thanks to the legendary the status the group maintains. Gerald Barclay, a longtime friend of the nine-man outfit and director/producer of their early videos, has crafted an interesting and engaging documentary on the group, The Story of the Wu-Tang Clan, which will premiere on BET network tonight and be released on DVD next week.

Although the film's structure is hitched to the timeline of the Clan, it often strays from this convention to drift around various chapters in the members' lives. The result is not distracting however, as it allows a sense of freedom within the broader story that would otherwise be unavailable to a strictly sequential film. Though he is clearly enamored with his subject matter, to his credit Barclay is also unafraid to criticize the group, especially when it comes to the period after Wu-Tang Forever, the group's Grammy-nominated multi-platinum 1997 double album, when petty arguments disrupted their path of success and is perhaps most the most singular cause of the lengthy period of stagnancy the group more or less continues to exist in today.

The Story of the Wu begins with Barclay traveling back to his neighborhood in Staten Island, aka Shaolin, where most of the Wu-Tang members got their start. Some of the best footage lies within this portion of the film, in the form of early interviews from 1993 and 1994, around the time of the release of 36 Chambers. The Clan looks unbelievably young here, as they begin to propagate their mythology and RZA engages in his signature 5 Percent psychobabble. Interviews with the requisite "childhood friends" and cohorts, including Popa Wu, Prince Po, Mitchell Diggs, and Loud Records' Steve Rifkind, pepper the proceedings. The incredibly prescient decision, virtually unheard of at the time, to secure a recording contract for the group while maintaining a legal status that would afford individual Clan members the ability to sign solo deals is discussed, as is the challenge of maintaining the integrity of the crew, their Wu Wear clothing label, and various other aspects of the group's nebulous existence.



To paraphrase a line in the film, what goes up must come down. After the release of Wu-Tang Forever, the Wu became notoriously outsized for their britches, one of their calling cards being a penchant for some or all of the group no-showing at concerts. Barclay's cameras capture Raekwon throwing a fit at a Source photo shoot, a moment that is indicative of the skyrocketing and corrupting clout the group had obtained. Of course, the sad details of Ol' Dirty Bastard's death are relayed as well, a somewhat heartening section during which Mitchell Diggs and Popa Wu get quite emotional.

The film ends on a positive note, with the Clan reuniting in 2006 and their ensuing worldwide tour. Wu-Tang Forever was completed, however, prior to the release of 8 Diagrams a year ago, so in that regard it is a bit dated. Still, it's a worthy effort and will be of great interest to anyone who has followed the Wu-Tang Clan throughout their career. DVD extras include an extended interview with Raekwon, the RZA, ODB's widow, and the director.

TRAILER: www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBaJ77V6MMk

SEE ALSO: www.wumovie.com
SEE ALSO: www.wutang-corp.com
SEE ALSO: www.rfilm.com

--
Jonah Flicker
Jonah Flicker writes, lives, drinks, eats, and consumes music in New York, via Los Angeles. He once received a fortune in a fortune cookie that stated the following: "Soon, a visitor shall delight you." He's still waiting.

See other articles by Jonah Flicker.

» MEDIA DOWNLOADS

» GOT STICKERS?

If you'd like to help spread the word about LAS, or simply want to outfit yourself with some adhesive coolness, our 4" circle LAS stickers are sure to hit the spot, and here is how to get them:

--> Send an with $2 in PayPal funds to cover postage. Don't worry, we'll load you up with enough to cover your town. Then just be patient. They will arrive soon.

» WORLDWIDE DOMINATION

LAS has staff and freelance writers spread across North and South America, Europe, and a few in Southeast Asia as well. As such, we have no central mailing adress for unsolicited promotional material. If you are interested in having your project considered for coverage, please contact us before sending any promotional materials - save yourself time and postage!